Donald McGauchie has resigned as chairman of Telstra, just hours after the company announced that top executive David Thodey would replace Sol Trujillo as chief executive.
McGauchie will be replaced by non-executive director Catherine Livingstone. He claimed that “speculation on my tenure” was a distraction to the business.
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“Nothing should be allowed to get in the way of David and the management team getting on with the important job ahead of them,” he said in a statement.
McGauchie has been under pressure to resign from investors, including David Murray, head of the Government’s Future Fund. Murray had become frustrated with Trujillo and McGauchie’s adversarial relationship with the Federal Government, which came to a head this year over the Government’s plans for the national broadband network.
+Telstra’s head of enterprise and government, David Thodey, will replace Sol Trujillo when his contract ends next month.
Thodey came to Telstra in April 2001 as group managing director of the mobile division. He was then given the role as group managing director of Telstra enterprise and government in December 2002.
He was previously chief executive of IBM Australia and New Zealand, before which he held several key executive and marketing roles. Thodey is also chairman of TelstraClear in New Zealand.
“Our strategy remains unchanged; to continue to provide customers with world-class products and services,” Thodey said in a statement.
He is expected to take a more conciliatory approach than Trujillo. One of the big issues he will have to confront is whether the telco giant will agree to a structural separation of its retail and wholesale structures of the business, a proposal it has until recently rejected.